A new survey of 363 businesses and organisations across the South East region has found that a small number of companies have already experienced an upturn. Nearly 50 per cent expect to experience an upturn in business next year while almost 40 per cent believe an upturn won’t materialize until 2011.

The outlook among Waterford businesses is the most positive in the region with 16% claiming to have experienced an upturn already. It also has the highest proportion of businesses who think the public spending cuts should be deeper.

Across the region, 49% of business leaders believe that €4 billion in cuts are not enough to get the public finances back in order. Less than one in five believes the cuts will cause further damage to the economy.

The findings are contained in the fourth in a series of twice-yearly surveys conducted with senior business managers by the Kilkenny-based market research firm, Market Dynamics.

County by county

Kilkenny businesses have the

least positive outlook being split 50:50 on whether 2010 will bring higher or lower sales/turnover. Just 9% of Kilkenny businesses have already experienced an upturn in business.

Wexford businesses are most worried about the budget with 27% believing that the €4 billion of cuts will further damage the economy. Wexford is the county whose businesses are most supportive of the University plan for Waterford.

South Tipperary businesses are the most negative with regard to maintaining their workforces with 58% expecting to employ fewer people at the end of 2009 than a year earlier. Nearly a third of South Tipperary businesses believe that a University of the South East is no longer justified, the highest in the region.

Carlow businesses are positive about the upturn with 69% expecting an improvement in 2010. The county has the worst broadband profile with 29% claiming their broadband access doesn’t meet their requirements.Good news

Commenting on the results, John Gilsenan, managing director of Market Dynamics, stated: “The good news is that the downward slide appears to be over and there is a slight improvement in our sales/turnover index compared to the last survey in May. However, businesses are expecting a slow and protracted upturn right into 2011. The government has won the PR battle on NAMA and South East businesses are offering strong support to the government to make major cuts in public spending. These are essential and a majority of businesses fear the government may not be cutting enough.”

Other findings

* Expectations for sales / turnover in 2009 are more positive than in May 09

* Of the businesses who expect sales to fall this year over half expect a fall of 20% or more

* The proportion of businesses who expect to be employing less people at the end of 2009 than a year earlier has fallen slightly since the last survey

* Nearly half of all businesses surveyed have not introduced any pay cuts and where pay cuts have been introduced they have applied to all staff in just 63% of cases

* The majority of businesses consider that the lack of consumer confidence, availability of credit and competition present bigger challenges now than they did 6 months ago.

* Just 15% of businesses have already seen an upturn in their business, 45% expect to do so next year while 39% believes it will be 2011 before things improve

* The sectors that are most positive about the current trading environment are manufacturing where 30% are seeing an upturn and construction (19%)

* 36% of businesses expect higher sales / turnover in 2010 while 26% expect a further fall

* Nearly one in five businesses claim to have broadband access that does not meet their requirements

* A majority of businesses, 42%, believe that NAMA is the best solution in circumstances while 29% do not feel well enough informed to take a view on it.

* Despite the pressure on the public finances 67% of businesses think a University of the South East should be implemented without delay

Market Dynamics is an independent market research company based in Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny.  For further information on the South East Business Confidence Study and its findings please contact Fiona Macrae on 056 775 8844 or e-mail fiona@marketdynamics.ie.